By Kathy Cabrera
Planning your B2B social media program is only the first step in a long process. Once you have clearly defined your social media objectives, there are a few other steps that can put you on the right footing for success.
Here is a simple social media checklist for B2B marketers you can use to get things started in the right direction:
* Gain internal support from the top-down. Social media must be embraced at all levels of your organization. This is important for approving an on-going budget and to ensure long-term sustainability of social media programs. In addition, executive participation is often a key requirement for many social media activities.
* View social media participation as an extension of your brand. Many of the same considerations given to content on your company website should be extended to content you publish via social media channels.
* Know your audience. Before deciding on a specific social media program, learn about what types of social media sites your target audiences already frequent, or what social media tools they use.
* Become an active contributor. Social media engagement is based on user-generated content and regular communication with audiences. Establishing schedules for publishing or producing content can help you stay consistent.
* Get help. External help is available to support a range of social media initiatives, from strategic planning and consulting to professional content production. Many PR and marketing agencies offer social media expertise. Businesses new to social media may require the assistance of these resources to strategically plan and execute initiatives.
* Create an honest, welcome dialog. Time and again, successful adopters use social media to establish a two-way exchange of information and perspectives. Avoid the temptation to use social media as an advertising channel, and work to ensure your communications are never considered spam. Social media must be thought of as a shift from autocratic thinking and one-to-many communications to a participatory environment. Social media is not about selling and talking at your audience. It is about sharing and engaging with them.
Social media is where the future of PR and marketing is headed. By exploring now, you can be a step ahead of the crowd and gain a tremendous competitive advantage. Have fun, be creative and participate!